Best Binocs for under $500

Valley1320

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May 5, 2019
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Looking to upgrade my binoculars this summer prior to hunting season as it has been 20 years and one one of the oculars is loose. I don't want to spend $1,000 or more and would like some good recommendations I do not hunt glued to a tripod but would like something that has good glass and eye relief for extended periods. Thanks.
I have the Vanguard ED and my dad has the vortex diamondback I love them both and they both have lifetime warranty.
 

sdkhunter

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Apr 13, 2012
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I like the Nikon Monarch's in that price point, Vortex has some good options too... Really, most of the glass in the 300-$500 is pretty decent - to me, its more about buying the warranty at that point - IF something unfortunate happens to them, who is going to be there and stand behind them... I've heard good things about the Maven's - I've just never looked through them personally...
 

fattybinz

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Aug 21, 2018
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Try to look through as many as you can. I'd take a hard look at the c-series from Maven. They have a trial program so you can send them back if you find they aren't for you. I was shopping for new glass over the past year and the Mavens ended up being my choice by a good margin in that price range.
Any idea how the Maven C-series compare to the vortex diamondback 10x50? I know the mavens are better, but I'm wondering if it is enough of a difference to make the switch. I was looking at the B.2 11x45s but they may just be out of my price range. I may have to settle for c-series.
 

Schaaf

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Any idea how the Maven C-series compare to the vortex diamondback 10x50? I know the mavens are better, but I'm wondering if it is enough of a difference to make the switch. I was looking at the B.2 11x45s but they may just be out of my price range. I may have to settle for c-series.
The C series will blow the diamondbacks out of the water. They are nicer than the Vipers.
 

VikingsGuy

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My C1 10x42 mavens side by side with buddy’s viper HD at first light last fall in WY and we both agreed Mavens better - but they were close.
 
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MinnesotaHunter

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I strongly recommend upping it to 6-700. You can find near alpha binoculars used in that price range.
Absolutely, If you can find a used/demo set of Zeiss Conquest HDs, Maven B.1s, Meopta Meostar HDs, Vortex Razor HDs; in the $600-700 range you will have damned dear top of the line glass, that will perform way better than something in the $500 MSRP range.
 

Mthuntr

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I managed to acquire Nikon Monarch HGs for less $700 (using promo codes and discounted gift cards). Full lifetime no fault replacement. Supposedly on par with the Meostars which are near alpha glass. Hoping to compare them this weekend on some fuzzy critters.
 
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Any idea how the Maven C-series compare to the vortex diamondback 10x50? I know the mavens are better, but I'm wondering if it is enough of a difference to make the switch. I was looking at the B.2 11x45s but they may just be out of my price range. I may have to settle for c-series.
The C series will blow the diamondbacks out of the water. They are nicer than the Vipers.
My C1 10x42 mavens side by side with buddies viper HD at first light last fall in WY and we both agreed Mavens better - but they were close.
I've had the C1s next to Diamondbacks, Vipers and Razors many times as someone in the family owns each of them.

The C series are far greater than the diamondbacks (at least the ones I've looked through), but I've heard others disagree. There's some variability in glass of that price range for sure which probably accounts for that. My opinion was that it wasn't even close.

The C series are definitely more clear than the Vipers, but they each have their pros and cons. The C series have a much smaller FOV (10x42 is what I've checked, but I'm fairly certain that holds true for other sizes), depth of field and focus are poorer, no locking diopter, have a pickier eye box, and the eye-cups are not as comfy as the Vipers (that's an opinion, but everyone in the family agrees). But the low light performance of the C series, clarity and resolution are all better than Vipers in my tests. It's not so cut and dry as "one is better" or "one is nicer" it really just depends on what you prefer. I think most would prefer the C series but I actually prefer the Vipers because they annoy me less.

Neither the C series or the Vipers are going to give you all the features of a $1K bino, but they work just fine. B2s are top notch and can hang with the top glass on the market and don't make many sacrifices along the way. If you can afford B2s then I would go that route.
 

Muskeez

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Call Pat at Predator Optics like suggested above. He treated me really well when I was on the fence on some different optics years ago. I bought some Leupold rifle scopes and a pair of 8x42 Theron Questa binos from him. The Questas are amazing glass. I have had several guys use them and they can't believe the clarity and how well you can see into the shadows with them. I was hard on mine this past year and manages to loose the eye cups. Pat send me a set at no charge. Great service!
 

Edwin

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Feb 21, 2019
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If you dont feel the need to spend that much try out the Bushnell Ledgend-Ms. They were the talk of all optics forums for quite some time. I found a pair this winter for $150 and I am quite impressed. They are no longer in production but you can find them all over. I personally cant tell the difference between them and the vortex vipers that are 3x the cost. Good luck in your search
 

bowhuntmontana

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Any idea how the Maven C-series compare to the vortex diamondback 10x50? I know the mavens are better, but I'm wondering if it is enough of a difference to make the switch. I was looking at the B.2 11x45s but they may just be out of my price range. I may have to settle for c-series.
I found the same thing that others indicated. They blew the Diamondbacks out of the water, and I found them superior to the Vipers. Honestly, to me they were close to the Razors. They aren't perfect, but an incredible value.
 

rmauch20

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Any idea how the Maven C-series compare to the vortex diamondback 10x50? I know the mavens are better, but I'm wondering if it is enough of a difference to make the switch. I was looking at the B.2 11x45s but they may just be out of my price range. I may have to settle for c-series.
I have the vortex diamondback 10x42 and Maven C1 8x42. So it is not apples to apples, but the Maven 8x42 blow the vortex diamondbacks away.
I will say the diamondback line offers a good value a that price point, but they are not in the same ballpark as the Maven line.
 

Idhikker

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Maven C1s will blow Vortex out of the water except the Razors which are much more expensive.
 

idnative1948

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Look at the Theron Questas. I have the Wapitis and am amazed at the glass for the price point. The Questas are even better. Predator Optics is run by a hunttalker (schmalts) and you won't get any better deals or service.
I also have the Wapitis and have been impressed for the price point also.
 

Ridge Ghost

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Absolutely, If you can find a used/demo set of Zeiss Conquest HDs, Maven B.1s, Meopta Meostar HDs, Vortex Razor HDs; in the $600-700 range you will have damned dear top of the line glass, that will perform way better than something in the $500 MSRP range.
I bought a pair of Meostar HD 10x42s on craigslist this year for $450. That was a heck of a deal. I have seen used Zeiss Conquests and Nikon Monarch HG's sell in the $550-$650 range. You just have to know what you want and be patient.

If I had to buy new in the <$500 price point I would be looking at Maven C1's
 
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